Memphis City Council Considers Deposits & No Masks For Protests
(Memphis) With the possible upcoming KKK rally looming, the Memphis City Council is looking at putting guidelines into place for that and other marches.
The council is looking at banning people from covering their face, a deposit for possible damage as well as paying for police protection and no concealed weapons.
City leaders rushed into a meeting Tuesday afternoon with lawyers, discussing all of the city’s options as the date for a March 30th rally approaches and if the city will allow it to take place.
The meeting was private, but News Channel 3 caught up with Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong as he left the meeting.
Armstrong calls this a unique situation.
He says with the freedom of speech to which Americans are entitled, the city has to be careful not to do something it could regret later.
Can the city of Memphis deny the KKK’s permit to hold a rally downtown?
“There is always a possibility of that. I won’t do anything that’s going to put our citizens in jeopardy,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong says the city has a lot to consider, like if they will demand a security deposit from the KKK, but there isn’t a set dollar amount on what that could be.
Tennessee laws allow people to legally carry concealed weapons raising more questions for city leaders and lawyers.
Plus, right now the city doesn’t have any ordinances banning facial masks.
“If you are armed, I have to know who you are. I can’t have people walking around the city with masks, even with the right to carry, I need to know who you are,” expressed Armstrong.
Armstrong is also asking other cities for help with additional officers and equipment.
The director says, he can’t funnel all of the officers to protect downtown and leave the rest of the city defenseless.
He’s in the process of speaking more with the KKK about the potential rally.
Armstrong believes if the permit is denied, the white supremacist group will not try to keep their plans for March 30th.
“Doing such would be a violation of the law. That takes it to a whole another level. I think because they filed a permit, they have intention of staying within the guidelines,” said Armstrong.
Right now, there is not a deadline for the city to approve or deny the March 30th permit.